BBC looks into multicultural Britain and finds some unwelcome truths

Are young men of Pakistani origin really fizzing with testosterone, and do they target young white women for sex because they see them as easy meat, as Jack Straw claimed last week? The Today programme went to Bradford this morning to find out, and you got the distinct impression that no one was more shocked than the BBC to find young Asian men, by and large, confirming what Mr Straw said.

A minority of interviewees sounded a note of caution, said everyone was equal and there was no such thing as an “easy target”. A more typical response, however, was: “It’s the way the white women dress, innit. Miniskirts. Encourages them, innit, to go jack ‘em and that, d’you get me?” (That’s an exact quote, by the way.) Or: “A lot of Asian women wouldn’t actually have their body showing, whereas white women you would find them like that.” Or: “White women drink, so when they [are] under the influence of alcohol the Pakistani men probably – the ones from Pakistan that have recently come – probably think they can take advantage, innit.”

Zubeida Malik introduced her report by saying: “Given the huge controversy that Jack Straw’s comments raised, you might be surprised by what you hear.” But were listeners really shocked by what they heard? Over at the BBC they might have been surprised, but no one else the programme interviewed sounded as though the comments were news to them. In fact, just before the end of programme, at ten to nine, they brought on David Aaronovitch and Nihal from the BBC Asian Network. I’m afraid the show’s producers will have been disappointed if they hoped Aaronovitch and Nihal might offer an alternative reading of the situation.

“What you have is a level of anecdotal evidence that something of this sort is going on,” Aaronovitch said. “It does seem that there is really something going on that people need to deal with.” Justin Webb struggled manfully to present a more innocent and less damaging case, proposing that, perhaps, some Asian men simply “fancied western women”.

Then Nihal from the Asian Network came on and I can only imagine the hand-wringing among BBC multiculturalists when they heard what he had to say: “We did this story back in November and we asked the question whether there is something in the Pakistani culture that led men to do this. Many people called in my phone-in show and said: ‘Yes we know that this is happening. Our men have this attitude towards white girls.’ [On Monday] a caller said: ‘White girls are easy. Fact.’ That’s what he said and he was unapologetic about that. I told him it wasn’t fact it was an opinion.”

Webb responded that that was very tough on young men of Pakistani origin. And he’s right, of course: it certainly is not good for respectable young Asian men. The fact is, though, that hardly anyone now denies that there is a real issue here and it has be faced. Perhaps only Keith Vaz is left insisting the whole thing’s an invention, and no one takes him seriously. As Nihal said: “Even Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, on my show this week said that he had never heard anybody say this, that white women were easy or promiscuous. I said to him: Well, why don’t you check out the iPlayer, because ten minutes before he came on my show someone had said that very thing!”

“It’s certainly been well mentioned now,” Webb said, a bit testily, as he wound up the interview. Small wonder if he was inwardly peeved. Today the BBC took a good look at multicultural Britain – and they didn’t like what they saw.


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